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14 die in Indian state polls

04 February, 2005

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PATNA, February 04 (Online): Nine policemen and a woman who had come to vote, were killed on Thursday in suspected Maoist rebelsí attack, apparently aiming to disrupt the elections. Four more people were killed in other violence, officials said.

Some 32.4 million people were eligible to vote on Thursday in the first phase of the legislative elections in Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand states. Maoist rebels, who have waged a decades-long insurgency against the government, have repeatedly pledged to use violence to disrupt the voting in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Despite tight security, seven policemen were killed when their truck hit a land mine after escorting polling officials to a ballot centre near Palamu town in Jharkhand, said Deputy Inspector General of Police Regi Dungdung. He blamed the rebels.

Two policemen and a female voter were shot and killed by suspected rebels near a polling station in Shankerpur in Patna, capital of the neighbouring Bihar state. In another incident in Bihar, police fired into an unruly crowd of voters, killing two women and wounding a teenage boy, said Bihar home ministry official Girish Shanker.

He said the voters in Chenari village became violent after polling officials barred them from casting ballots because they did not carry their identity cards. The crowd hurled stones at the police, prompting them to open fire, he said. One man was killed by unknown attackers in Dhubri and another died in an exchange of gunfire between two rival groups in the Bihari town, police said.


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